My salad dressing days


Things
December 23, 2006, 10:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve tried it before. I’ve tried announcing at year end that next year will be The Year Of No More Things. Friends and relatives roll their eyes. Yeah right, you can hear them think.

You say that now but wait until the lure of the January sales. Or the chicklets’ birthday. Or doing the weekly shop without sashaying into the clothes/books/household goods section of the supermarket.

But I feel burdened by all my things. Weighed down, I lament.

It’s not good, is it, when you have boxes of things from your house move which you can’t yet unpack because in order to do so you need to buy more things in which to put those things.

Things to put things in equals more damn things.

So you give some things away. To charity shops, who trade in unwanted things which are wanted by others who lack an aversion to the accumulation of things. Which is all in the good.

Except when in taking your unwanted things to the charity shop, you come out with someone else’s unwanted things. Which is all in the good…for the charity. But not for thing-averse little you.

(Do you see how difficult it all is?)

So you freecycle things. And you marvel at the wonders of the internet and Yahoo user groups and the love and the generosity of spirit displayed by the man who wants to pass on at no cost to you his lovely shiny not-so-new thing that you never thought you needed, wanted, desired (until now).

Except that you were supposed to be offloading things not swapping them for different things.

And then there’s the telly. Telling you that there are plenty of shiny new things that you need. Telling your kids that they face a lifetime of social exclusion should they not possess some shiny new thing with an unpronounceable name whose function/use is far from clear.

You can, of course, not watch telly. Or only watch the BBC. Or Sky Plus everything (except that it’s not nice to give money to Rupert Murdoch, just like you should never accept sweeties from a stranger). Or, better still, you can freecycle your telly (except that this brings you into contact with the potential for acquiring more things for free).

That’s not to say that there aren’t some good things:

Things you genuinely need. Like a bed and a gas stove and Take That’s Greatest Hits.

And things that you can consume. Quickly. And without too much packaging, because that’s bad too. (Oh, God…).

But then your family say: you’re taking it to extremes! What the heck are we going to get you for your birthday?

And so you relent (on or around 3 January) and say: um, Take That’s Greatest Hits? Or maybe this cashmere top I saw in TK Maxx (reduced to £25 from £70!). Or a copy of ‘Stop Consuming! Start Living! Your 12-step programme to a simpler life’.

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8 Comments so far
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I wish I could motivate myself to get involved in the recycling. I’m still at the hoarding stage though.

Have a happy and procrastination-free Christmas UC.

Comment by Betty

It’s funny how “things” creep up on you. When I left home for university, my “things” fitted into three boxes and two suitcases of clothes. I wish that were still the case.

Comment by frangelita

Have a mince pie and ignore it all. Merry Christmas!

Comment by Hannah

I asked Barney to make me a shed in the garden for all the things that I don’t want now but might need one day.
He refused. He said there wasn’t enough room in the garden.
Oh well.

Happy Christmas to you and all the chick family 🙂

Comment by mig bardsley

I feel like that quite often. Totally weighed down by my possessions (I acquired a few extra things when my mother died and I don’t want to get rid of them). I live in a minuscule studio (the room is 13’3″ by 11’2″ – I’ve got it written down b/c no one believes me when I say it’s tiny; I don’t believe it myself), where every nook and cranny is ‘occupied’.

I blame TK Maxx, actually: before its appearance in the neighbourhood, I had maybe five jumpers, two pairs of shoes, two coats (winter/summer) and one handbag. I now have seven or eight jumpers, four pairs of shoes, three coats and four handbags. And ‘several’ beautiful leather Filofaxes that I couldn’t resist when some stationers went bust and TKM got a whole lot cheap. It’s getting really bad. LOL!

I take stuff to Oxfam et al all the time. And I sell on eBay sometimes. In the past few weeks I sold about a dozen items and bought a small bottle of expensive perfume with the proceeds. It didn’t cost me anything (apart from time: I wish eBay were less time-consuming) and those possessions will eventually get sprayed into the air. Hooray!

I only get gift vouchers for Xmas and birthdays these days. Ok, ok, they’re usually from TK Maxx…

Comment by Bela

Asking for “things” that are really experiences isn’t something that accumulates onto shelves – opera or theater tickets, perhaps? If one is so inclined to go, that is, otherwise I suppose tickets stack up, too. I personally like to pretend this is a less thingy expense of money, anyhow.

We’ve never tried the freecycle thing. We have, however, used Craigslist to successfully unload stuff. Perversely, we get more replies if we ask for some piddling fee, like five bucks, than when we list something is free. It’s like some weird insight into human nature, there. If you’re just giving it away for nothing, apparently it has no worth, but if you charge next to nothing for it, suddenly it is desirable for others to have. People are weird.

Comment by katiedid

Thank you so much for your kindness, which I appreciate very much. That was definitely your Samaritan moment. Hope maybe meet in the New Year when all this is over.

Comment by Peter

I do identify with this, sweety. As you know. also, I just packed about five boxes of tea, going with us to the new house, which will always remind me of you, urbanchickadee. Maybe 2007 is the year I can finally “freecycle” some samples to you FINALLY. For you to add to YOUR stuff. xoxo

Comment by mireille




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